Governing business, managing change

February 10, 1995

John Daniel (THES, January ) takes too narrow a perspective of management and as a result becomes confused. To identify management "away-day" profligacy is commendable but is undermined by the unsubstantiated "in higher education they have comparatively little to do".

Mr Daniel pays no heed to external regulatory pressures. To accuse management of devising "an ever-increasing mountain of rules and guidelines to avert boredom" signifies a lack of research into the proliferating national bureaucracies and their effect on higher education. Institutions are measured and audited as companies. If they do not measure up they are closed as companies first, as educational institutions second: there is no sentiment.This reality is well understood at the executive end of management, but has not cascaded to operational managers who still disguise their hobby-horses as missions. Perhaps governmental consolidation on student numbers will bring about a proper analysis of the masking effect of growth on effective management. In this the tune Mr Daniel sings is right, it is the libretto which is wrong.

Ieuan Pugh


Loughborough College of Art and Design

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